Reviews Archives - Page 5 of 79 - The Millions

March 3, 2016

The Life of Meaning: On Yann Martel’s ‘The High Mountains of Portugal’ 4


What matters is not whether one believes in a higher power, but rather making use of whatever philosophical tools give life meaning and create vectors by which to effect change in the world.

March 2, 2016

Confining Roberto Bolaño’s ‘2666’ to the Stage 12


On the stage, Pelletier and Espinoza can’t help but defend the Western values the driver has insulted. As Pelletier lands blows, he cries out, in dialog augmented by the playwrights, “This is for the feminists of Paris!…This one’s for Salman Rushdie!”

February 24, 2016

Taste Is the Only Morality: On Han Kang’s ‘The Vegetarian’ 0


The Vegetarian is dark, cynical, even antinatalist.

February 24, 2016

Against the Anti-Art Literati: On Roberto Calasso’s ‘The Art of the Publisher’ 6


For the most part, publishing today, whether print or digital, lacks the overarching sensibility that only the good publisher provides.

February 22, 2016

We Need to Submit: On David Thomson’s ‘How to Watch a Movie’ 2


We are, in short, not watching movies — or living our lives — with the full capacity that once seemed so natural to us.

February 18, 2016

Another Mask: On Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘In Other Words’ 1


I started Jhumpa Lahiri’s new memoir expecting to find a story about the joys and struggles of learning Italian as an adult, and as a writer. But Lahiri did not write the book I was expecting — and which I think many other readers might be primed for. Instead, she has written an elegant, if somewhat oblique, memoir about creative crisis.

February 17, 2016

Experiments in Biography: On Chris Offutt’s ‘My Father, the Pornographer’ 0


In 1994 alone, John Cleve wrote 44 novels, including Punished Teens, The Chronicles of Stonewall 7: Captives of Stonewall, and Buns, Boots, & Hot Leather.

February 16, 2016

Recognition of Another Sort: On Ethan Canin’s ‘A Doubter’s Almanac’ 3


Do we want something different, something new, some sense that, with the same words, in the same world, we might, through the workings of fiction, find a way to rethink reality — and to find the familiar strange, the world an ever bigger, more interesting place?

February 10, 2016

A Walk in the Park: On Suzanne Berne’s ‘The Dogs of Littlefield’ 1


I tucked a copy of Suzanne Berne’s latest, The Dogs of Littlefield, under my arm before being tugged out the door by my basset hound.

February 8, 2016

The Contents of His Head: On A.O. Scott’s ‘Better Living Through Criticism’ 1


This is a rather defensive and sometimes irritable book, an act of muffled aggression by a man besieged and yet conscious of occupying a privileged position in the world.